2008-07-31 1 comments

Pick a Sermon, Any Sermon

I've been asked to fill in for my pastor and give a "sermon" during Sunday morning services. I have a few ideas of my own, but I want to know what you think.

After posting a question for sermon ideas on Twitter the other day, I sorted through the responses and came up with this list. Vote for the one you like best. Of course, God reserves the right to nix any of these ideas--it is, after all, His call--but we may just find that all three of us agree.

(If I'm feeling especially brave, I may even post audio of the sermon here for Multi-Media Monday. We'll see...)

Vote and, please, offer any comments or suggestions. Heck, you may find you don't like any of these ideas, and that's OK, too. Have one of your own? Fill out the comment form.  

As always, Grace and Peace... 

<a href="http://www.buzzdash.com/index.php?page=buzzbite&BB_id=102386">Of the following, which should I use for a Sunday sermon?</a> | <a href="http://www.buzzdash.com">BuzzDash</a>

2008-07-27 0 comments

When I, in Awesome Wonder...

I don't need--or have--any words to describe this. I simply stand amazed at the indescribeable beauty God has created, and I am forever in awe that He allows me to see these glimpses of Heaven before the day when I live there forever.

2008-07-23 0 comments

Oh, Nevermind...

I'm glad I've got that whole promise-of-eternal-life thing going for me after I die, because news items like this make me feel old.

What was the most recent reminder of imminent old age for you?

2008-07-22 0 comments

Digg, Internet Evangelism and Emergents

I got an e-mail from the creator of GODSurfer.com asking for some pub and a link to the new social bookmarking site. (So here you go, Jeff. God bless the effort, brother.) 

If you're hip to Digg, StumbleUpon, Reddit and Del.icio.us, you'll understand GODSurfer right away. Head on over and give it a once-over. I'll confess I haven't given it more than a cursory look myself; I made sure I agreed with its Statement of Faith...I never link to a Christian site without that essential piece of due dilligence. But GODSurfer looks promising, at any rate, and I imagine I'll probably sign up in the coming days to see if I can build some more traffic here. To that end, I've started posting a GODSurfer button to posts here, separate from the other social bookmarking buttons. Interested to see if I get any plugs.

But what I'm really interested in is a program called BGO (short for Bringing God Online.) I think it's a really, really good idea, and I urge you to read about it and, if you are so inclined, to sign up.

Not to seem completely random, but I'm interested to get your thoughts on Rob Bell of Mars Hill Bible Church in Grandville, Michigan (not to be confused with Mars Hill in Seattle which is, in my opinion, one of the most theologically and spiritually solid churches in the world--at least from where I'm sitting.)

At any rate, I posted a video from him last week, and I did so after listening to some sermons/teachings I'd downloaded. He did a series on Phillipians recently, portions of which I really, really enjoyed.

Still, I'm concerned about his theology...he is, of course, one of the big names from the Emergent camp. And I certainly have issues with those guys despite the fact that they are contributing meaningful dialogue to the conversation about Christianity's role in 21st century culture.

So, how about contributing meaningul dialogue of your own? Just fill out that little comment form down there. Like Rob Bell? Don't like him? Are you evangelical, emerging or emergent? Are you all of them? None of them? Do you have any idea what the heck I'm talking about? (Me neither, by the way.) I'd like to hear from you.

Grace and Peace...

2008-07-17 0 comments

Law vs. Grace

One of my very good Twitter brothers posted a note on his Facebook profile that was too good to pass up.

(Thanks for allowing the re-post, Matt. People need to read this.)

Religious people will huddle in their churches, spend at christian stores, only go to church-sanctioned social events, only hang out with Christian people. This comes from fear.

The law inspires fear-
fear of God, and fear of man.
fear of God's wrath on our inevitable failings, slip-ups and misdeeds,
and fear of man- fear of man's influence on us, fear of relationships or encounters that will end up in sin, carried off by the moment or the circumstance, cultural values that may sweep us into sin, accidental sin that we are ignorant of. Fear that salvation can be lost and must be regained hundreds of times each day.

Grace inspires love.
Love of God and Love of man.
Love for God because he will not destroy us even though we deserve it, that he does not count our sin against us for which he already took the punishment, love for His power to never lose us, or let us go, no matter our failings, slip-ups, and misdeeds.

Love for man, because we know God loves them and we are commanded to share his love with them. Not all will be saved, for not all are called, but since we have no fear of the law to consider, we are free to engage culture for his sake and ordered to befriend the lost, the hurting, the estranged, the ultimate of sinners, the people we used to love being.

For the lover of the law, life is a series of slippery stones above a great waterfall, jumping one from another, conscious of the fall the whole way, hoping our balance will be sure each time.

In grace, life is a stream to be forded, the water sometimes deep and cold and swift, other times, shallow, warm and quiet. But there is no danger, because we are carried.

2008-07-09 3 comments

Evangelical Attitudes Survey

I posted one of these polls back in May, and I was so pleased with the response and the fact that it fostered dialogue I'm planning to do it at least twice a month, maybe even weekly. Thursday needs a theme, after all. I have (in theory, at least) themes for most days--Multi-media Mondays, Wednesday Link Day, News of the Week (on Sundays). Polls on Thursdays? Needs a catchier name...

So, fill out the survey below. The first three are "serious" questions, the final one just for fun. Please bear in mind: just as important as taking the survey is sharing your thoughts on the questions. Don't let your opinions float around in the ether. Nature abhors a vaccum almost as much as Web 2.0 does. So, let's get some back-and-forth going.

2008-07-07 0 comments

Multi-Media Monday (on a Tuesday)

Hey folks. I appreciate your patience over these past two weeks. If you're a regular visitor, you might be a little confused. Heck, I am, and I'm the guy behind the curtain.

To recap, when Blogger upgraded its blog service and added some new bells a whistles about a year ago, people with "classic" templates didn't have to switch over to the new system. So, I decided to stick with what I already knew. I'd taught myself some rudimentary HTML with my template, and I could make whatever style changes I wanted with minimal effort. Problem was, when Blogger switched things over, it messed with the comment moderation feature. Long story short, my classic template couldn't accept comments which is, of course, a cardinal sin in the social web. I mean, that's the whole point, right? To foster conversation? Sure it is, and I would sumbit that it's even more important on this site, the purpose of which is to tell people about Jesus. And to tell people about Jesus, I must be willing to engage readers in a conversation about Jesus.

So I bit the bullet and switched over to Blogger's new system. I can receive comments now, which is great, but I can't stick with a design. Each one I've tried just doesn't look good to me, or has some flaws that render it useless for my purposes.

Bear with me, will you? I'll probably be tinkering with the site for the next week or so until I get something I'm at least moderately happy with. In the meantime, I'd love to hear your thoughts on various designs. Heck, if you run across a blog that you like, share it with me. I'm certainly not above jail-breaking someone else's design--provided it's under Creative Commons, of course.

Long intro, I know. But if you've read this site for any length of time, you'll know I was raised in an old country church, because I blog longer than a Southern Baptist preacher preaches.

Rob Bell Exclusive for the Evolving Church 2007 - More free videos are here

So, what do you think? How have we, as The Church, failed in delivering social justice? How important is social justice anyway? Do you, personally, do enough? What more can you do? I'd love to have your input as I'm preparing a post on this very topic, which I hope will convict us all--and myself, especially--to take Jesus seriously when it comes to serving the poor.

2008-07-03 2 comments

New blog design

Disclaimer: I am not at all happy with my new blog design. Reason? I designed it myself after jail-breaking a Blogger template I found. And I am not a web designer. At all. Frankly, it shows.

One of the big reasons I changed looks was to switch my blog from the old-school Blogger templates to the new one to better improve comment moderation. The comment moderation I was using was screwing everything up, and I needed to update my template style to incorporate Blogger's comment moderation.

Anyone care to weigh in on the new look? Like it? Hate it? Hey, comment as "anonymous" if you'd like.

The floor is yours...